What makes the Executive MBA from HEC Paris the best in the world? | TopMBA.com

What makes the Executive MBA from HEC Paris the best in the world?

By Linda Mohamed

Updated July 6, 2021 Updated July 6, 2021

What makes HEC Paris' Executive MBA programme so special to take the number one spot for 2021? We spoke with HEC Paris faculty to find out more.

HEC Paris has been named the best business school in the world for an executive MBA in the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2021.

Based in Paris, the school received extremely high scores across all ranking indicators – especially for employer reputation, thought leadership and career outcomes.

You can find out more about the methodology used to produce the rankings here.

TopMBA caught up with Andrea Masini, Associate Dean for HEC Paris’ Executive MBA, to learn about the importance of EMBA programmes today and what makes the school a top provider of executive education.

Educating the leaders of tomorrow

Founded in 1881, HEC Paris has a long history of educating CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies and entrepreneurs on a European and global scale.

The school’s EMBA programme supports students throughout their personal development – whether they want to climb up the ranks at their company, switch sectors, or start their own business.

Masini says executive education and programmes like an EMBA are “more important than ever” to help professionals achieve their goals.

He said: “Our [EMBA] participants learn how to test their ability to make decisions under uncertainty, to be adaptable and agile, to be resilient, and to acquire new competences. Companies are more in need than ever of people who are able to manage uncertainty and disruption and our EMBA graduates leave with that ability. The EMBA remains a great option for those looking to make a radical career change and/or start their own company.”

Customisation is key

Another component of the HEC Paris EMBA that distinguishes it from other EMBA programmes is how easy it is to customise the programme towards your career goals.

In fact, successful candidates can choose from five different tracks (depending on their availability to begin their studies) and eight specialisations spread across nine different locations worldwide. These include “Innovate Like an Entrepreneur” (taking place in Paris and Boston), “Shape The Future of Energy” (in Doha and Berlin) and “Inspire Change in Social Business” (in Cape Town and Bangalore).

The programme takes between 15 and 18 months to complete and has a highly international cohort.

Masini said: “[The specialisations] give students the opportunity to focus on an area of choice where they want to expand their knowledge of a specific industry or sector, while also allowing them to discover a new region of the world.

“One of the many benefits of the international mobility option is the way it facilitates exchange between classmates from different regions and highly diverse professional and cultural backgrounds. Our EMBA programme has 250 students representing 50 nationalities. This option transforms an already international Executive MBA programme into one with even greater global scope.”

Furthermore, HEC Paris offers an extensive choice of electives to ensure that participants can tailor the programme’s curriculum to their professional needs as much as possible.

Examples of EMBA elective courses include Sustainable Governance, Responsible Leadership, The Entertainment Industry and New Product Development.

Masini said: “HEC Paris EMBA participants are not only taught skills – the programme combines rigorous academic theory with learning by doing, driving students to stretch their limits. Just as in the real world of business, our students develop an approach to problem solving and decision making that they will use throughout their lives, preparing them to go further than they ever thought possible.  

In addition, executive leadership is embedded across our EMBA curriculum and covered in many of our core courses, and leadership is further developed through custom projects, such as personalised coaching, the Leadership Development Plan and on-going reviews of achievements during the programme. Our faculty move forward the frontiers of knowledge to create new ideas that will shape the world and have an impact on our society.”

Enriching networking opportunities

Networking plays an important role in most business school degrees – and an executive MBA is no exception. Connecting with like-minded individuals and teams in the business world can help professionals step out of their comfort zone and advance their careers faster.

Masini says networking is embedded throughout the HEC Paris EMBA curriculum, with a wide range of initiatives aimed at helping students and graduates build long-lasting relationships during and after the degree.

He said: “Networking has always been an incredibly important and valuable part of our EMBA programme. We recognise the value of the community that’s developed during and post-programme. Our EMBA students form a close-knit community for life. Networking allows participants to have valuable time to reflect and discuss course topics on a deeper level, and to share insights from pre-programme job experiences. 

“Joint networking events are held throughout the year with the MBA programme and participants are invited to join campus-wide events also. During the specialisations, students are mixed with participants from all of the EMBA tracks, allowing them to expand their network even more, and our annual Leadership Seminar brings together all students from all tracks.  And finally, graduates join the more than 60,000 alumni located in 132 countries around the world. There are 80 international alumni chapters, and more than 1,000 alumni events held each year.”

This article was originally published in June 2021 . It was last updated in July 2021

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